In a world where CRPGs were once confined to their traditional mechanics, Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity series emerged as a shining beacon of innovation. However, it was Larian's Divinity: Original Sin 2 that laid the groundwork for a new era, introducing immersive sim elements that brought a whole new dimension to the genre. Now, with the mighty swing of Baldur's Gate 3, the CRPG landscape has been forever altered.
Obsidian's design director, Josh Sawyer, recently shared his thoughts on Baldur's Gate 3 in a lively Q&A session on his YouTube channel. When asked if there was anything from BG3 that he would like to incorporate into a "Pillars-y" game, Sawyer revealed his admiration for two particular additions that took the game to new heights (quite literally).
Firstly, movement became a game-changer in BG3. Forget about mere walking; now you can jump and even fly! The ability to traverse terrain in such dynamic ways opens up a myriad of possibilities for players to approach situations and solve problems. Just imagine the thrill of flying your group up to the rafters to rain down havoc upon your foes or luring enemies through a set of doors to trap them. Such creative tactics were reminiscent of tabletop RPGs, and witnessing them brought to life in a CRPG is undeniably cool.
Sure, there may be some grumbles about BG3's height advantage system and its relationship with the 5th edition ruleset, but Sawyer's praise for the game's innovative mechanics rings true. The inclusion of a Y axis not only adds depth to the gameplay but also allows developers to build further systems around it, enhancing the overall experience.
Secondly, Sawyer commended BG3's dynamic world, where properties matter and objects can be manipulated. The concept of "barrelmancy" has become a beloved meme within Larian's community, showcasing the game's ability to embrace the absurd. Even Critical Role's Matthew Mercer surprised the studio's founder with his ingenious use of stacking crates and teleportation to infiltrate a fortress. Pillars may have mostly existed in a 2D world, making such interactions more challenging, but the possibilities in a 3D world are endless. Larian's success with Original Sin 2 provided a solid foundation for the dynamic and interactive elements seen in Baldur's Gate 3.
Baldur's Gate 3, while breaking new ground, owes much of its framework to Larian's previous games. The studio's decade-long dedication to refining its systems since DOS1 in 2014 shines through in the seamless execution of BG3. Sawyer concludes by acknowledging that these two Larian games stand out precisely because of these unique features.
So, let us raise our tankards to the soaring heights of movement and the art of barrelmancy, for they have brought a new level of excitement to the world of CRPGs. As the genre continues to evolve, we eagerly anticipate what other unexpected and humorous adventures await us in the realm of digital tabletop adventures.